Anxiety from Head to Sole

My son, Judah, doesn’t feel things like other kids. Most of my kids feel cold and pain immediately and address their needs. Judah will run half way up the back hill barefoot in the snow and then suddenly begin crying because his feet rightfully hurt.

The point here is not how I am a horrible parent who lets my kids run outside in the snow barefoot – I have my reasons, and they learn pretty quickly from mistakes.

The point is that he didn’t feel the pain while on the deck or in the first 10 feet of standing in the snow. It took him until he was far from a warm, cozy home for him to realize there was something wrong. I know this about him and I watch him a little closer because of it, but I also know we all learn well from our mistakes. The problem is that he is so busy playing, observing his environment, absorbing, that his brain hasn’t made room to register discomfort until it reaches a threshold of pain that he can no longer ignore.

Judah and I are a lot alike in that way. We both live up in our heads a lot. We are the watchers, the thinkers, the quiet observers, and we are very good at ignoring our own needs until it’s a full fledge agony we must address RIGHT NOW! Cue the screaming.

That brings me to the anxiety from my head to my sole, and, honestly, also down into my soul.

It had been weeks of dealing with a very clingy five month old who wanted to be snuggled 24 hours a day, plus the usual yelling, nagging preschoolers, non-stop talking little boys, and girls who are going through a lot in their adolescence and needing me too. It’s schoolwork that needs to be explained, and fundraiser letters they need help writing, and new medical devices that we are all still adjusting to, but honestly, it’s mostly the baby who must constantly be touching me even while I sleep. I had been cooking, cleaning, and feeding around the clock, it seemed. I hadn’t gotten around to doing anything for myself. My feet were in desperate need of a pedicure to the point I could feel anxiety in the very soles of my feet. Somebody get me a pumice! I was feeling claustrophobic and I was burning out without even knowing it.

Like little Judah making it halfway up a hill, barefoot in the snow, before his poor little feet registered the cold, I had made it two solid weeks without taking a moment to myself. And God had been watching me make this mistake, knowing I’d learn from it too.

My quiet times weren’t very quiet. I was praying through the noise of children fighting. I was reading God’s word while they watched Superbook! I’d become a superior multi-tasker, taking care of little children while taking a shower, juggling babies while typing or stirring pots. But all the while my poor bare feet were catching the brunt of it.

I stood in my living room, and dialed my husband’s phone and asked him if I could have 2 hours to myself that evening. He began to explain some challenge he was having that would need his attention, and then he heard my voice and the tears I was holding back. He saw me through the phone line, like Judah standing far from a place of warmth and comfort and crying out in pain, and he stopped and made it happen.

I needed a moment of quiet. A time to quiet my mind. A time to pray. A time to reflect.

Friend, sometimes we are so busy caring for everyone else that we forget to care for ourselves. In truth, we have moved our own needs so far down the priority list, and so many other needs are pressing us that we forget we even exist, and certainly aren’t aware of our own needs. We forget, until the pain builds up and then we explode, or at least I do. Sometimes that explosion comes in tears, sometimes it comes in raised voices, sometimes it comes in depression or other harmful attitudes and behaviors.

There is a reason God tells us to fit our feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:15) I was anything but ready and I was so far from a place of peace, and it was because I had failed to fit my feet with that gospel. I needed to prepare each day, to take that time to read, to pray and to reflect in quiet. It doesn’t always come easily, but its necessary.

Our feet are indicators of whether or not we are ready to go, prepared for the day, ready to tackle the cold, harsh realities of life! Just like Judah needs a mommy to stop him from walking out the door in his bare feet heading to the snowy hillside, Mommies need a Heavenly Father to catch them before they run out the door unprepared for life too.

We moms need to remember to get our shoes on each day, before we try to tackle the snowy hillside.  We need to take that time to sit down with Jesus, listen to His voice, quiet our own minds and reflect on His sufficiency.  Only then, we can beat the anxiety in our soul.

How do you find time to spend quietly with Jesus when your kids are little and needing attention? Have you experienced the anxiety in your soul when you fail to prepare for each day?

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